An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in Wales Report Launched

On the 12th May 2011 a report entitled An Anatomy of Inequality in Wales, written by WISERD researchers for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), was launched in Cardiff. The launch of the report, which has been described as ‘landmark’, had substantial coverage from a number of Welsh media outlets, including the BBC and ITV.

Over 50 delegates from a wide variety of backgrounds attended the launch event which featured opening statements from Professor Teresa Rees (ProVC Research, Cardiff University) and Kate Bennett, National Director for Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission, followed by presentations from each of the authors of the report, where key findings were briefly outlined.

The report examined the impact family background may have on a person’s chances in life.

Seen through the lens of people’s characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, age and disability, the report suggests that for some, disadvantage begins at birth and continues through into education, employment and retirement.

Often these issues may be passed onto the next generation.

Professor Teresa Rees said: “This thought-provoking report should play a major role in evidence-based policy in Wales designed to tackle both long running and newly discovered forms of inequality.

“Crucially, poverty should not be something parents pass on to their children.”

The key findings from the report reveal:

  • Pupils eligible for free school meals are 2.5 times less likely to get A*-C grades in core subjects than their peers
  • 74% of disabled people and 46% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are not in employment or full-time education
  • 20% of people in Wales live in poverty
  • Almost 50% of single parents live in poverty and so do 13% of in-work households
  • Muslim men are 50% less likely to be in work than Christian men
  • Male graduates earn £15.40 per hour on average and male non-graduates £9.10
  • Women graduates earn £13.53 per hour on average and non-graduates £7.33

However, the report adds the gap between the rich and the poor in Wales is narrower than the rest of the UK.

Kate Bennett said: “I challenge anyone looking at this report not to find at least one surprising fact about how we live in today’s 21st Century Wales.

“We all know that feelings of being valued, respected and trusted are lower in societies with a big gap between the rich and poor.

“If we are to realise a strong and confident Wales for the future poverty and disadvantage cannot be something that is handed down by parents to the next generation”.

Further information on the report, including a downloadable copy of the document, can be found here.